Mold Growth in the Winter
The lack of moisture in the cold air leads people to believe they don’t have to worry about mold growth during the winter. Unfortunately there are several factors that lead to increased concerns about mold during the winter months.
Turning Up the Heat
During the winter months our homes are sealed up tight to keep the warm air in. The warm air is unable to leave your home, the trapped moisture and condensation from the increased humidity creates a perfect atmosphere for mold growth. Differences in relative humidity throughout the house can also increase the chances of mold growth.
Lack of Ventilation
Indoor air is typically drier overall during the winter months but certain areas of the home may experience intensified levels of humidity due to a lack of ventilation. Kitchens and bathrooms are particularly susceptible to this issue. Something as little as steam from the shower, sink or stove can create a big problem. During cold weather, windows are closed tightly and condensation collects on indoor surfaces such as cold walls or windows and frames. This moisture creates an ideal conditions for mold growth in winter.
Due to the dry air during the winter, there is a high use of humidifiers. Having moisture in the air can be helpful but if you aren’t careful, the over using of a humidifier can cause mold growth. To avoid any issues use them in moderation.
A leaking pipes or roof can create a constant source of moisture in your home. If you find a leak, get it repaired immediately. Mold may compound the problem if the moisture problem is not addressed immediately.
Steps to Take if You Have Mold
If you have mold, chances are that you want it removed right away. While mold can be a nuisance, it can also be treated and stopped from growing. In case you don’t know what to do if you discover it in your hom
Identify the water source. If you have mold, you either have or had a water problem, since it’s a necessary ingredient for mold growth. Although it can be treated immediately, if the water source is not addressed, the mold will just grow back.
Call a mold remediation company. Unless the mold is shallow and covers a small surface area, it’s best to call your local mold remediation company. Not only are they able to treat the growth, but they also have the tools and experience to contain the area so others are not contaminated. If it’s only a small amount of growth, consider wiping the surface with an antimicrobial spray applied to a cloth.
Take steps to prevent future growth. Once you’ve taken steps to address current mold growth, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from occurring again in the future. The main concern is mitigating the amount of moisture in your home, which you can learn more about in our post about mold prevention.
Do I Have Mold in My Home?
Homeowners generally don’t want mold in their home, which is why they often try to have mold growth treated. But many homeowners are not sure if they have mold at all. In some cases it can be tricky, but there a few indicators that should help you determine if you have mold.
You can see it. The most obvious sign you have mold is you can physically see it. If you do, you should contact your local mold remediation company and ask for their services.
There is a strong, musty odor. Sometimes you cannot see mold, but there’s a strong, musty smell. While it’s not a guarantee you have mold growth, it is a strong indicator. You should call an inspector to test your home and make that determination.
You recently had water damage. Moisture is one of the key ingredients necessary for mold spores to begin growing. If you recently had water damage, it’s possible for mold to grow, especially if the affected areas were not properly treated. If you suspect you might have mold and recently had water damage, contact a mold inspector.
What Every Homeowner Should Know About Mold Growth
What Causes Mold Growth in Homes?
The cause for mold growing in the home may not be immediately apparent, but knowing what issues are commonly associated with spreading and developing spores can be useful. Several factors can contribute:
Access to organic materials, such as dirt, carpet and wood and other building materials
A moisture problem in bathrooms, basements or other areas prone to high levels of humidity
Water damage that is left untreated
Will Mold Go Away on Its Own?
Mold generally does not disappear on its own, and the root of the problem, which may be a water leak or an area with high humidity, often needs to be addressed to slow or stop the growth. Additionally, other factors such as airflow in the home could affect the spores’ ability to spread. To get rid of harmful problems such as black mold in your home, you may want to consider employing remediation specialists to assist you in the mold cleanup process.
How Can You Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home?
Preventing it from growing is often much less time-consuming and less costly than the process of mold remediation and restoration. Reducing the amount of humidity in your home by using dehumidifiers or increasing the airflow can help to prevent the spread of these funguses. Additionally, it can be helpful to frequently inspect the areas in your home that may be prone to growth, such as bathrooms, kitchens, under sinks and basements.
Keeping Mold Under Control During the Remediation Process
Removing mold from your home is a necessary task, one that must be taken care of quickly and efficiently. When a professionally-trained mold remediation team comes in to handle the removal of said mold, a step-by-step process must be adhered to in order to prevent mold contamination in other areas that are otherwise unaffected. Here is a quick look at how technicians handle the process, showing three important steps they take to properly contain and extract mold from a home.
1. Turn off the water supply and isolate the area. First and foremost, it’s important to turn off the main water system in the home, as any running water or leaks can simply create more moisture and lead to further mold growth. Meanwhile, the experienced crew members will set out to close all doors and windows between the affected areas to prevent spores from becoming airborne during the removal process.
2. Remove any damaged furniture, floorboards or other building materials and place them in heavy-duty plastic bags. The mold contamination damaged pieces of debris should be carefully handled and placed in durable bags that can be sealed off, not allowing any contaminated items to remain open to the air. Emptying a large majority of the space clears the way for easier cleanup and more effective mold containment.
3. Commence with cleanup procedures, using proper chemicals and tools to destroy mold growth while also using drying equipment to air out the home and complete the process. Once the team removes all traces of mold and decontaminates the affected areas, they’ll use high-pressure vacuums, fans or other drying equipment to eliminate moisture caused by possible leaks or high-humidity. Once the area has been deemed dry and clear, they’ll finish by replacing materials and running proper tests to ensure the area is secure.
Is there money in MOLD?
“Black Mold: Creeping Destruction” about the alleged devastation of mold in residential areas, plummeting home values and creating health concerns for homeowners. Time magazine’s Web site recently profiled a lawyer who claims to have filed more than 300 moisture- and mold-related cases during the past six years. Even a woman better known for successfully taking on large utility providers for polluting water, is coming out in force against mold
She has spent upwards of $500,000 to rebuild her dream home after mold allegedly gave her family respiratory problems, and she now is suing both the house’s builder and former owner.
The newest issue to top the indoor environmental awareness charts is mold contamination — both in residential and commercial buildings — and so far, sensationalistic media coverage has left many building service contractors and their customers wondering what to make of the topic.
The general public isn’t sure whether to panic or pull out the bleach. Many contractors, on the other hand, are trying to determine if this is a field in which they could prosper — or if it’s too rife with liabilities.
While most indoor environmental quality (IEQ) experts disagree on the extent and nature of today’s mold problems, they agree that mold presents a unique health risk and a need for educated contractors to identify and mitigate problems. As with other relatively new specialties, such as crime scene clean-up or disaster restoration, mold remediation can be profitable if done properly. But not every BSC may be cut out for the job.
Common Causes of Attic Mold
Bathroom mold, kitchen mold, basement mold, these areas tend to get all the hype, but there is another area that property owners need to be aware of, too, the attic. Mold found in attic areas can be challenging at times when trying to pinpoint the exact cause and source of mold growth. However, there are some common conditions that we routinely find during our mold investigations that are leading contributors to mold growth in attics.
Yes, you guessed it, at the top of our list is roof leaks. Several issues can occur around the flashing or the area where the roof plane meets a vertical surface like a vent or a chimney. Missing, deteriorated, or improperly install flashing among other penetration points and inadequate roof repairs are the most common causes of roof leaks. Water seepage also occurs when the roof is beyond the end of its life span. An annual inspection of your roof by a roofing specialist and routine maintenance can prevent leaks in a roof system, effectively reducing the likelihood of mold growth in your attic.
Inadequate Roof Ventilation
Without adequate ventilation, moisture-laden air can remain in attic areas. Often, this will cause elevated moisture conditions around the roof framing and roof sheathing. During cold winter months, for example, condensation can occur on the cold roof sheathing creating this damp environment. You may think otherwise, but it is important to keep your attic cool during colder months.
Another common cause of inadequate ventilation is when your soffit vents are blocked by debris. This could be debris from trees, roofing materials, birds’ nest, or insulation – when it is blown into the attic. If proper care is not taken during this time, the insulation can end up blocking the soffit vents. Soffit vents are critical in a passive ventilation system to circulate air from the lower portion of the attic (intake vents) to the upper roof vents (exhaust vents).
Bath or Kitchen Exhaust Fans Vented into the Attic
Exhaust fans should be vented directly to the exterior of the home, and surprisingly we often find this is not the case. When an exhaust fan is missing its exhaust duct, or if the duct has become separated, the exhaust is then vented directly into the attic space, similar to the situation above meaning the warm damp air is trapped creating the ideal atmosphere for microbial growth. In this case, it’s important to correct the issue an re-route the vents to the outside.